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Jacinda Ardern denies passing blame to public over housing crisis - 'I've listened'

The Prime Minister faced criticism over comments around public appetite for taxation to get the housing market under control - however, Jacinda Ardern says it was not passing the blame to New Zealanders for soaring house prices. 

Ardern - file. Source: Breakfast

This morning, Ardern was asked on TVNZ1's Breakfast about Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr's suggestion of taxation to take heat from the market. 

"The appetite for some of these policies also needs to come from the public," she replied. "We've tried three times now to do things that specifically sit in that taxation category and there hasn't been wide support for that."

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The Prime Minister told Breakfast said she has pitched taxation to ease housing prices three times without public support. Source: 1 NEWS

Green Party finance spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said New Zealand was now in a very different situation than when the Prime Minister pledged to not introduce a capital gains tax or wealth tax.

"Few people at the start of the election campaign would have predicted record high house prices as the country enters a recession," Genter said. 

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Jacinda Ardern says public bears some responsibility for housing crisis after failed taxation attempts

"Right now we need to be ruling in, rather than ruling out, solutions to fix this runaway housing crisis. That includes fairer tax to stop housing speculation."

National's Nicola Willis tweeted in response to the comments by the PM - "disappointing".

"The Government’s major response to our housing woes? Duck for cover and attribute blame.

"It won't get houses built," she wrote. Let’s instead focus on boosting supply: zoning for growth, removing consent hurdles, funding infrastructure, helping community providers etc etc

ACT leader David Seymour called the PM's comments "tone deaf".

"If the public is to blame, what can the Prime Minister do about it? Proper reform of the RMA, including widespread fast-track consenting of new house-building is the only way to fix the problem, and she knew that when she became Prime Minister.

"This isn’t a tax issue, it’s a local and central government getting out of the way of building houses issue."

Ardern said she was not passing the blame to New Zealanders for the housing crisis.

"I think it's just acknowledging that I've listened. It's not about apportioning blame. The argument I would make is that there are other levers that we have an obligation to look at, and we will and we are."

The Speech to the Throne, written by the PM and delivered by the Governor General last week, stated that the current Resource Management Act "is too costly, takes too long, and has not adequately protected the environment".

"The Government will ensure that New Zealand's resource management system is fit for the future by repealing and replacing the Resource Management Act."

Ardern said although she supported "the principle of a CGT, and I've never changed my view on that, I had to accept I hadn't won New Zealanders over on it".

"As a Labour Party, that was something we took to more than one election, that we took to New Zealanders to try and garner support for that. We were not able to do that. We tried again as a Government to try and get consensus from the parties that represented the majority of voters. We were unable to do that."